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November 07, 2011



I think the part with the trailer does seem like they are trying to pass the buck onto the cyclist.

--"Smith said the bicycle was towing a trailer, which may have also contributed to the accident."--

So are we to assume that any accident a transport truck or someone towing a trailer with their car involved in are at fault because of the trailer?
I'm sure she was experienced enough with cycling with a trailer to know how to ride. They make it seem like she just strapped a trailer on for the first time.

This isn't the first time the "blame the victim" issue has reared its ugly head.
How many times do we hear people blame the cyclist for not having a helmet? Just a few days ago a cyclist was hit from behind in St. Catharines and police are "reminding" cyclists to wear reflective clothing (although from what I've heard the person here DID have lights).
The same thing has happened with pedestrians when involved in accidents.


Abhorrent coverage by the CBC. I can't decide if they don't see it, or are purposely inflaming opinion. Although I have my suspicions.



The Star at least is now making a point that the 5 ton truck only had a flat passenger-side mirror and not a concave one (http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1082585--cyclist-killed-in-collision-with-truck-near-dundas-and-lansdowne?bn=1)

The police officer is really having to try hard in the CBC article, since he can't use the usual excuse that the cyclist wasn't wearing a helmet.


The CBC's coverage might as well be a press release from the "let's stop the war on cars" mayor, Rob Ford. Frightening when you think about what's most often in a bike trailer: children. Unfortunately this type of accident isn't isolated: see NYC firefighter Matt Long's book "The Long Run" about his efforts to rehab after being run over and dragged by a city bus in a right hand turn situation. Luckily, he survived. Condolences to the family of the Toronto victim.

Alan M

I think the article sums it up nicely with,
"It's one of these preventable collisions," Smith said. "We have two road users going in the same direction, making the same turn and because we’re sharing the space, one has lost sight of the other, or one has continued into the path [of the other]."

This lays out what is know -- that conflict happened in the turn and the result is a tragic death.

All the rest is speculation. Here are some of the things we don't know, which are material to understanding how this could have been prevented:
1. Was the truck driver stopped, signalling a right turn, and the cyclist passed on the right? A dangerous, illegal and ultimately fatal mistake.
2. Was the truck driver already in the turn and the cyclist attempted to pass during the turn? Again, a fatal mistake.
3. Did the truck driver accelerate from the stop sign into the right turn, passing and cutting off the cyclist who started out ahead? A dangerous move on the part of the truck driver, and a perhaps a lack of defensive riding on the part of the cyclist by not asserting turn space.

I'm sure there are lots of other relevant things that we don't know, and may never, unless someone steps forward as an eye witness, or with a video.

In the end a life, and an unborn life, were both lost. And yes, the situation could have been prevented -- by more responsible driving, perhaps on the part of both drivers involved.

Every situation like this is a wake up call on many fronts. For cyclists, it reminds us of the ever-present need to ride defensively at all times. Without making any assumptions on what happened in this tragedy, remember to never pass right turning traffic on the right. Remember when turning to assert your turn space so that you can't get crowded out in the turn (ie. take the lane!).

When behind the steering wheel as a motorist, remember to check that right side blind spot and when making a right turn, get over to the curb into the turn space (which admittedly a truck driver cannot do).

While infrastructure improvements are good and desirable, a bike lane on the incoming street would not have helped in this case. In too many cases, motorists do not move over into the bike lane to make a right turn, as required, and some cyclists still insist on dangerously passing on the right.

Be careful out there folks!

Alan M

Here's a Youtube video explaining how the Dutch have addressed exactly the kind of situation that proved deadly in the Toronto situation:

(Bill .. can you turn this into a link when you accept/post?)


If this country would mandate truck guards there is a chance they could have prevented this death... they are mandatory in many other countries around the world because they save lives... likely something worth a letter writing to your MP about.

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Bill Bean

  • North America is eventually going to figure out that, for all the right reasons, we need more bicycles on our roads. Dust off your bicycle and go cycling. And if the gas-burning dinosaurs start to crowd you, it's your road and you paid for it. Take the lane for yourself.

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